4 Useful Facts about Acrylic that Might Interest First-Time Users

Posted on: 12 April 2018

Acrylic, often called by the brand name Perspex, is a plastic material that is used in many applications because of its impact resistance and natural transparency. The impact resistance attribute implies that during everyday use, acrylic is resistant to scratches. Moreover, acrylic has low impact resistance to sharp and blunt forces. Although available in various colours, raw acrylic allows light to penetrate just like glass. For this reason, acrylic has become a practical alternative to glass. This article reviews some facts about acrylic. The information might be useful for beginners who want to try this material on different applications.       

Shaping and Fabrication -- When most plastic materials are heated at high temperatures, they quickly lose their formed shape and cannot be moulded accordingly. However, acrylic can be shaped into various forms such as tubes and sheets. Even when exposed to high temperatures, acrylic holds its formed shape. Also, the material can be sawed, drilled or machined to produce diverse end products like dentures, picture frames, bottles, lenses and windows.

No Hazardous Risks -- Most plastics contain Bisphenol A (BPA), which is released when the material reacts with water. Although study findings are inconclusive on the toxicity of BPA, some have shown that the substance is hazardous to human health. Due to such concerns, most plastic consumer products are made of acrylic because it does not release BPA when in solid form. Note that acrylic fumes released during injection moulding and 3D printing can be toxic.

Cast and Extruded -- Acrylic is available in either cast or extruded form, which might look identical. Cast acrylic has a higher melting point than extruded acrylic. Therefore, the former is ideal for drilling and milling while the latter is suitable for laser cutting. Therefore, choose your acrylic carefully considering your fabrication needs.

Lightweight and Weather Resistant -- Acrylic's lightweight property makes it suitable for a wide range of applications when compared to other materials such as glass. It is estimated that acrylic weighs 50 percent less than glass. Because of the property, acrylic is used to make skylights that do not necessarily increase the load placed on roofs. Furthermore, acrylic dental fillings are comfortable because of the lightweight quality. Also, transporting sheets of acrylic is cheaper compared to moving other heavy materials. Another advantage of acrylic is that it is sturdier and thus is resistant to weather elements. Acrylic also refracts light and is it resistant to UV light, thereby making it applicable in windows and surveillance mirrors.